Loftwings (pronounced /ˈlɒftˌwɪŋ/ LOFT-wing and /ˈlɔːftˌwɪŋ/ LAWFT-wing), also known as Guardian Birds, are a recurring species in The Legend of Zelda series. They are birds used by the citizens of Skyloft to fly around the different regions and are used during the annual Wing Ceremony.
It is a custom in Skyloft for each person to have their own Loftwing, which is a symbol of the divine protection granted by the Goddess Hylia. A Loftwing and its rider have a special connection, as Skyloftians consider themselves to be one half of a pair until they are made whole by the Loftwings. When a Skyloftian is young, they meet their bird companion under the Statue of the Goddess. Having a Loftwing and being able to ride it separates the kids from the adults.
Loftwings cannot fly during the nighttime since they have a terrible night vision, and only those which have been specially trained can fly in the dark. They can also be taught a special move called the Spiral Charge, but since it is a stressful move for Loftwings to perform, it is usually only taught to senior Knight Academy students.
The crest of the Goddess Hylia is a symbol of a Loftwing, which bears resemblance to many other symbols in The Legend of Zelda series. The Hylian Crest found on every version of the Hylian Shield is a symbol of Link's Crimson Loftwing. The crest of the Royal Family also depicts the image of a Loftwing in its design.
- The Loftwings were modeled after the Shoebill, a species of bird native to tropical east Africa. The idea for their curled tails came from one of the designers' pet shiba.
- Many Loftwings bear characteristics similar to their owners. Strich's Loftwing has a similar bowl haircut and belt. Cawlin's Loftwing has a similar haircut and belt. Groose's Loftwing has a similar pompadour haircut and belt matching Groose's necklace. Zelda's Loftwing has a similar golden circles belt. Orielle's Loftwing has hair also in braids.
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese||ロフトバード (Rofutobādo) (SS | SSBU)||Loftbird|
|FrenchEU||Célestrier (SS | SSBU)|
|German||Wolkenvogel (SS | SSBU)|
|Italian||Solcanubi (SS | SSBU)|
|Russian||Небокрыл (Nebokryl) (SSBU)||Skywing|
|SpanishEU||Pelícaro (SS | SSBU)|
Concept art of a Loftwing from Hyrule Historia
- "Loftwings are modeled after birds called shoebills, and the idea for their curled tails came from the designer's pet shiba." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 9)
- "The one who rides their Loftwing skillfully enough to obtain the bird statuette before the others becomes the champion and advances to their senior year." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 73)
- "As you know, each of us in Skyloft is but one half of a pair. We are only made whole by our Loftwings, the guardian birds that the goddess bestows upon each of us as a symbol of her divine protection." — Gaepora (Skyward Sword)
- "When we are young, every one of us meets our Loftwing under the great Statue of the Goddess. It's quite a big moment, as I'm sure you recall." — Gaepora (Skyward Sword)
- "Here in Skyloft, it's being able to ride a Loftwing that separates the kids from the adults." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "Listen up. Loftwings can't fly at night! They have terrible night vision, and only the few who have received special training can fly in the dark. If you really need to fly, you'll just have to wait for daylight." — Pipit (Skyward Sword)
- "The Spiral Charge is a stressful maneuver for most any Loftwing to pull off. But you and that red bird of yours...I'll bet you can handle it without a sweat!" — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "This is a technique that only senior Knight Academy students who have mastered high-level flight skills are allowed to perform." — Owlan (Skyward Sword)
- "Our hero, who rescues the land that will later become Hyrule, rides a red bird. This is why the mark of a bird appears on his shield. However, since the design had already appeared, was this some herald of fate to come?" (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 9)
- "Of course, that Crimson Loftwing of yours is something special. I'd feel pretty confident riding him, too!" — Pipit (Skyward Sword)
- "The bird that came to him was a Crimson Loftwing. It is a breed so rare we were sure for some time that it had vanished from the line." — Gaepora (Skyward Sword)